I apologize for the delay in this blog post. There will be two published this week to make up for it, and then we will be back to regularly scheduled posts next Monday. Thank you for reading!
- Oops!…I Did It Again
- Don’t Go Knockin’ on My Door
- (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
- Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know
- What U See (Is What U Get)
- One Kiss from You
- Where Are You Now
- Can’t Make You Love Me
- When Your Eyes Say It
- Dear Diary
Britney Spear’s second album, Oops!…I Did It Again, was released on May, 3, 2000. Like her previous release, Baby One More Time, this effort was massively successful. It debuted at number one and sold over 1.3 million copies in its first week. This broke sales records for female solo artists at the time, and it would not be broken until the release of Adele’s 25 15 years later.
Like the previous album, Oops!…I Did It Again is very much a dance-pop album, this time featuring a more R&B sound. Max Martin and Eric Foster White jumped over from the previous album, adding new producers and songwriters to the mix as well, including Robert John “Mutt” Lange (producer, writer), Shania Twain (writer), and Diane Warren (writer). Martin had his hand in producing the bulk of the tracks, another winning formula carried over from the last album. Oops!…I Did It Again has sold 20 million copies worldwide, and is Spears’ second top selling album after …Baby One More Time.
The reason why I went directly from Elvis to Britney was because of this album. Along with Elvis ’56, this was the first CD I bought at Borders when I was in the 2nd grade. It was definitely all the rage in 2000, and I remember being at the picnic tables and trying to recreate the dance moves from the videos with my two best friends. Flash forward 4 years, and what felt like a lifetime, later and I was in middle school. I rediscovered the CD and for the entirety of 6th grade, I would listen to it at full volume while getting ready for school in the morning. Because of this, the songs, the sequence of the songs, and all the lyrics, are forever imprinted on my brain. It’s a gem, it’s a delight, it’s so much fun. And the best part? You can dance to it!
- Oops!…I Did It Again*
This song is an absolute killer from first note to last. You can already hear the funkier, R&B sound this album has. And the message of this song, about a girl who keeps playing with boy’s hearts, but is not really that sorry about it, is fierce. The lyrics to the chorus: “I played around with your heart/ got lost in the game/ oh baby, baby/ oops you think I’m in love/ heaven sent from above…I’m not that innocent” are confident and self aware. There is also a conversation about the Titanic diamond necklace in the middle of the song.
Brit: is that the…?
Boy: Yes it is
Brit: But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean at the end
Boy: Well, baby, I went down and got it for ‘ya.
Britney: Aww, you shouldn’t have.
Truly incredible. Can’t ask for much more than that!
Post breakup anthem about starting over and feeling fine. In particular the lyrics, “my loneliness ain’t killing me no more”, is a clever nod to “my loneliness is killing me” from “…Baby One More Time”. This song could make anyone feel like they can conquer the world. The breakdown at the bridge of the song is so dramatic and leads flawlessly into the bombastic final chorus. Another winner from beginning to end.
3. Don’t Go Knockin’ On My Door*
Another intense breakup anthem, this one a little more low-key. It features maybe my favorite rhyme on the album: “don’t go knockin’ on my door/ you better stay away for sure.” While the last album was so very ’90s, this song really sets the stage for the coming decade: it is all synths, dance beats, and autotune…oh my. Britney is not taking anyone’s crap in this song, “do what you want/ as long as you don’t come back.” Savage.
4. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction*
Despite this being a Rolling Stones song, I believe this was the first version of “Satisfaction” I ever heard…it’s embarrassing, I know. Britney’s version is so pop with some pretty acoustic guitar strung throughout. Even the lyrics were changed to suit her life (“when that girl comes on TV/ and tells me how tight my skirt should be/ I’ve got my own identity”)…and it works. The message expressed in the chorus is one all of us can relate to. Not being able to find yourself or feeling lost in the hubbub was relatable in 1965, 2000, 2020, and will still be relatable in 2243. A cover she made her own.
5. Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know*
The first ballad on the album has a lot of R&B flavor. This track has Britney pleading with her boyfriend to stop beating around the bush and just tell her he loves her already. It also features a really nice, breezy ending that, in my mind, sets this song on the beach at sunset.
6. What U See (Is What U Get)*
First things first: the “U” in place of “you” is peak instant messaging culture and I am here for it. This song, most likely intended to be about a relationship, may just be Britney’s first “accept me for me” song that could be geared toward the press. It would sadly come to define her relationship to fame, paparazzi, and the media over the next decade. “You should never try to change me/ I can be nobody else/ And I like the way I am”, would become her thesis in her hit songs of later years.
An iconic bop!! I remember spending the summer of 2000 trying to recreate this music video on the patio and in the swimming pool. While the last song might be construed as Britney’s angry take on fame, this is the tragic take. The announcer’s voiceover at the end of the bridge: “Where’s Lucky? OMG here she comes!” has a sinister undertone to it. The claws of fame and fortune always scratching for a piece of the current favorite. The kicker to the chorus, “if there’s nothing/ missing in my life/ then why do these tears come at night” is extra sad when you think about the foreshadowing of what would become Britney’s life in the next few years.
8. One Kiss from You*
A love song heavy on the melodrama: “one kiss from you/ and suddenly/ I see the road laid out in front of me.” Its dramatics are what bring the fun though, and the chorus will have you singing along on first listen. This is a welcome respite after the previous two songs’ heavy emotion.
9. Where Are You Now*
Another Maria anecdote: when I was in 6th grade, this was the song I used to practice slow dancing before the first middle school dance. My practice partner was the air that I would hug, but it still counted in my book. My attempts were only successful for half a song before the boy I was dancing with ran away. You gotta love middle school. Because of sentimental reasons, I love this song. I do think it is the second strongest ballad on this album (the first being “Lucky”, but I think this song can even go toe to toe with that one). It has beautiful acoustic guitar woven throughout, peaking with an intimate instrumental bridge, and also arguably has Britney’s strongest vocal on the album. The song is about a breakup where you lose track of the other person’s whereabouts, but you never lose track of them in your heart ( “I’m reaching out to you/ to find that you’re not there”). It’s a musical tale as old as music has been around (see Irving Berlin’s “What’ll I Do” for my favorite take on this trope).
10. Can’t Make You Love Me*
When a track opens with, “I’m just a girl with a crush on you”…we know we are back to fierce Brit. This song is a variation on the album’s theme of a girl who has it all, and yet she just can’t get the guy she wants. Proving that love is still ever elusive even for those at the top. Great pop banger.
11. When Your Eyes Say It*
Track 11 was written by songwriter extraordinaire Diane Warren, who wrote pop hits like “Because You Loved Me“, “How Do I Live“, and “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing“, among many, many others. “When Your Eyes Say It” has her trademark ballad sound. Britney is in a relationship with a guy who may not say much, but that’s ok because his looks and actions say it all. I have to say this guy seems like a major step up from the one in “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know”. Britney has a softer vocal which leads to a more mature sound. The smooth vibes of this one make for a great, easygoing love song.
12. Dear Diary*
Perfect closing song to what is a very introspective album. It’s also ridiculous and campy in the best way, with the laidback, almost acoustic production keeping it from being laughable. It is filled with wind chimes and swirling piano and lyrics like, “Dear Diary, no one knows me better than you do”. It’s hope for a new romance with a crush is a lovely, optimistic ending statement.